Archive for Blog

Innovation in automotive sustainability technology inspired by a toy!

A recent article published by Popular Mechanics magazine “5 Things to know about making electric car batteries better”  features a very interesting interview with a researcher and engineer which work on improving electric cars batteries was inspired by observing the functional dynamics of a remotely controlled toy.

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This is a classic example of how an idea inspired by observing a totally different context and even a much simpler one (toys) can lead to the concrete improvement of a sophisticated technology with an impact of progress that is going to be relevant not only for mobile sustainability but also for many other fields in which rechargeable batteries are utilised. Once again the impact of Research & Development in automotive and Motorsport is far reaching in many different directions. This represent one of the key aspects articulated by the book.

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Is innovation always incremental?

A recent study published on Organizational Science and pointed out on a Fast Company article by the title “Unexpected lessons about innovation from Formula One teams” stresses that even the fast paced changing Formula One world shows that effective innovation is the one implemented in an incremental way.

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There are many factors that influence directly innovation in Formula One: regulations, technologies, financials boundaries, yet the drive to performance needs to be focused and streamlined and a study points out that the incremental application of original know-how is the most effective one. When we think about innovation (products or services solving problems or being effectively embraced by markets) we need to observe that tracing back its roots we realise that truly it is always an incremental process, a process that at times can be accelerated by technologies or fast developing know-how, yet central key roots remain set in place. The book argues and investigates this issues in depth under several points of view.

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The Italian Motor Valley & the roots of innovative mobile sustainability. Onda Solare: a racing laboratory

‘Onda Solare’ is the Italian team competing on sustainable energies endurance racing  challenges across the globe since 2005. Unique technologies, coming from several fields, are integrated to develop innovative set to become landmarks for developing mobile sustainability solutions . The project involves original ideas coming from the talent, skills and passion of entrepreneurs integrated by University of Bologna research & development.

Onda Solare getting ready to compete in the recent solar challenge in Atacama Desert, Chile

Onda Solare getting ready to compete in the recent solar challenge in Atacama Desert, Chile

The project will be featured in the book through in depth interviews of the people that developed and are developing it from perspectives rooted in innovation.

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The University of Pisa E-Team Squadra Corse & the International MBA

Within the Entrepreneurship module of the University of Pisa International MBA we have hosted the E-Team Squadra Corse presenting their path to development and growth of the project.

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

University of Pisa. The E-Team Squadra Corse and the International MBA

They are adopting a marked entrepreneurial approach to the development of the entire project. The project is by now featuring an organisational chart composed by more than 60 roles and this is quite unique in itself within the International Formula SAE  (Society of Automotive Engineers) program. The roles involve students belonging to technical, economics, organisational, marketing and communication fields . Their focus, competence and enthusiasm are contagious. INNOVATION is featured within many technical aspects as well as the organisational ones. Racing weekends are scheduled in July in Italy and August in Hungary. Stay tuned…

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Frugal innovation. India as its global springboard?

A section of the book leverages on some concepts and practices that are increasingly part of the innovation process within automotive: ‘frugal engineering’ is increasingly becoming a driver of development for products and services within a sustainable dimension from several perspectives. The book features an exclusive interview with a Mahindra & Mahindra top manager (the Group is operative in many economic fields in which the automotive one is rapidly developing and expanding also beyond India) focusing on an overall unique approach to economic and social sustainable product development hinging on some key factors and values.

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It is a matter of fact that ‘frugal innovation’ is an intrinsic part of India traditions and daily living, nowadays its social focus is increasingly relevant and effective; this interesting article better illustrates the relevant practices up-to-date “Frugal innovation and innovation for the frugal – How India is becoming a hotbed” .

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Roots of innovation in single seaters racing?… Just creativity for now!

Chris Beaty (free lancer designer) has designed and animated concept of single seaters race cars “The Closed Cockpit Race Car Could Be The Future of Formula 1. A faster, safer racer that could put F1 and Indycar back on track”

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Conceptually this is a very interesting Formula project: aerodynamics flow under the chassis to allow for closer passing opportunities; safety features with the key characteristic of sleek closed cockpit; back to raw power racing and appealing too from a pure design point of view … It looks like an updated modernised version of a legendary Lotus 49 😉

No doubt that this is simply a creativity exercise yet some of its characteristics are quite interesting and could turn into concrete innovations (solutions to actual problems as for example safety and putting a new needed life to top racing).

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Reaching the top through innovative championship ladder flow

Open wheels racing in the USA is progressively regaining the fans attention and overall prestige it had in the past. It is all due to changes made with that specific aim. A key aspect to this progression is the a stronger than ever Mazda Road to Indy program.

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The book features direct interviews with the organisers pointing out how organisational innovations within the promotional series involved are generating something powerful, effective and unique. A concrete example of innovation that actually solves problems and creates value for the market.

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A disruptive innovation within automotive: OSVehicle

No doubt the automotive industry is undergoing, has to undergo, many changes. Changes that go well beyond technological aspects regarding powertrain or the sustainability of the overall materials utilised: new business models are needed and are shaping-up already. One of them is the Open Source Vehicle (OSVehicle) evaluated by many as marked unique industry disruptive innovation.

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The book features the overall characteristics of this innovation through an in-depth analysis of its evolution towards current global projects and direct interviews with the founders. In particular we point out how and why this is an overall unique innovation that leverages on diversity and cross-cultural pollination regarding technology, people and markets.

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WANTED: Innovative Value Adding Propositions to Motorsport

Recently an article on AUTOSPORT by Ed Straw by the title “Is Motorsport sleepwalking to doom?”  addressed a topic that in many ways is troubling many of us: Motorsport does have problems that go even well beyond the financial ones, they often go to the very roots of it, to its identity related to its present and future. Currently Motorsport seems confined in a tunnel: the exit is still not yet in sight yet the speed needs to be kept high and the driving does not allow for any sort of mistake.

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That exit can be made closer with Innovative approaches to creating New Value Adding Propositions. Prepositions that recognise fully the social, economic, technological and communication factors having a market impact on Motorsport, prepositions that need to arise from a proactive mindset rather than a reactive one.

Motorsport needs to be awakened through innovative ways to assert its value added in terms of sport, technology and entertainment from two perspectives: top-down (more visionary planning taking into consideration the key element that fuels it: fans) and bottom-up (each one of us, passionate about it, working on it, need to find a way to contribute in a positive proactive way).

Out of these approaches, new sustainable business models are needed to develop along this line Motorsport in regards to several series and several venues. The foundations of these business models are addressed in the book with concrete examples.

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Creativity, managing around barriers towards innovation

Increasingly we focus on why organisations fail to develop creativity and this article shows an interesting summary on the topic “How We Kill Creativity (And How We Can Rebuild It)” also represented by the image below:

creativity

There are two key aspects that emerge from the article and that need to be addressed.

1) Creativity regarding organisational processes and outcomes is never developed in a vacuum: it does’t happen because one single ‘genius’. It is rather a factor of many elements that come to integrate: people, technology, context, internal and external direct or indirect inputs;

2) Creativity turns into innovation only when concretely solves problems and/or creates value recognised by the market.

Because of this, in order to maximise their potential to create and mostly to innovate (that is what really counts for enterprises), organisations cannot afford vacuums dedicated to creativity and innovation has to be the target. This requires an overall aware and skilled cultural approach to develop creativity and concretely innovate. It is a cultural approach, involving the overall organisation considering its processes and people, that requires a central focus to develop innovation, a focus that is one of the key principles articulated in FAST TRACK INNOVATION fasttrackinnovation.it  by pointing out and elaborating over actual examples of Motorsport and automotive organisations.

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